Putting value for money into practice

This online course will build your confidence and skills of using VFM techniques when designing programmes and preparing proposals and budgets for institutional donors.

Course dates

This introduction to value for money (VFM) will build the confidence and skills of NGO staff who have limited experience of using value for money techniques when designing programmes and preparing proposals and budgets for institutional donors.

Course structure 

Three live online sessions, plus individual and group work between the sessions.

Who is it for?

This course is suitable for people who are new to or have little experience of managing and measuring VFM in programme design, proposal writing and the preparation of programme budgets.

What you will learn

  • Why VFM is important to NGOs and people living in poverty
  • DFID’s and other donors' approach to VFM
  • Analysing the VFM of different programme design options
  • Managing key drivers of VFM, including risk
  • Calculating unit costs and linking these to outputs and outcomes
  • Measuring, comparing and reporting on VFM
  • The challenges of hard to measure benefits, leverage and sustainability
  • Addressing VFM in proposals and reports to DFID and other donors
  • Preparing participants to develop an organisational VFM action plan


This course will be delivered entirely online, through facilitated live sessions (using Zoom) as well as individual and group activities on the Bond learning platform. We work hard to make sure you get the same level of interaction and facilitator support as you would in our training room. You’ll work in breakout rooms, use case studies and co-create documents – all online

1. Who cares if NGOs achieve VFM and why?

  • How DFID and other donors approach VFM
  • Public perceptions of aid and VFM
  • Who counts – what about the beneficiaries?
  • Internal drivers
  • Partner perspectives

2. Planning: considering VFM  in programme design

  • Using the theory of change and stakeholder analysis to generate options in programme design
  • Using options analysis to make a business case
  • Identifying the key components of VFM
  • Risk analysis and pricing risk
  • Valuing leverage and sustainability
  • Addressing VFM in proposals to donors

3. Doing: ensuring VFM during implementation

  • Activity-based budgeting and calculating unit costs
  • Linking unit costs to outputs and outcomes
  • Identifying and improving decision-making processes which add or destroy value: partner selection; procurement; monitoring and evaluation; budget management; risk management
  • Reporting on management of VFM

4. Reviewing: evaluating and reporting how VFM is achieved

  • Identifying indicators and measurement processes
  • Comparing and explaining different results
  • Estimating the hard to measure benefits
  • Reporting on measurement of VFM

5. Action planning: engaging your organisation in developing a value for money action plan

  • Developing a SWOT for your organisation in relation to VFM
  • How to engage key stakeholders in developing an organisational action plan on VFM
  • Overcoming obstacles


Monday, 18 May 2020: live online session one (10.00 - 11.30 am, British Summer Time)

Individual and group work (approx. 1.5 hours)

Wednesday, 20 May 2020: live online session two (10.00 - 11.30 am, British Summer Time)

Individual and group work (approx. 1.5 hours)

Friday, 22 May 2020: live online session three (10.00 am - 12.30 pm, British Summer Time)



Course prices

Band 1


Band 2

Bond members >£2M annual spend

Band 3

Bond members <£2M annual spend

* 10% off if you book 8 weeks in advance; 5% off 3 or more bookings.

Contact us for special discounts if you're a student or unemployed.


off if you book early*


off multiple bookings*

Event dates

Monday, May 18, 2020 to Friday, May 22, 2020

14 places available

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Registration closed


ActionAid International Secretariat

Leads the Value for Money Pilot Project aimed at developing ActionAid's understanding of VFM and to support the Programme Partnership Agreement (PPA) between DFID and ActionAid.